I first heard from Kansas State University’s Brandi Buzzard a few years ago when all she wanted was just some equal time. She had picked up a copy of the campus newspaper and read what she saw as an anti-ag editorial attacking the health benefits of milk. Milk! What comes next? Apple pie and hot dogs? Yeah, hot dogs have gotten their unfair share of press so we’ll just leave it at apple pie, no sugar added and certainly no artificial sweeteners. Just plain apples and a sodden and unflakey crust made without lard.
An annoyed Brandi Buzzard penned a response. The editor refused to publish it. “Not fair!” she thought.
Looking for redress, she emailed me and asked how she should handle the situation. I didn’t know who she was; she had communicated with me because she had read my Cattlenetwork interviews with influential cattle people and hoped I might be able to help.
“Show me what you wrote.” I responded and looked up the editorial that had spurred her to action.
The editorial was biased, surprisingly so since it was written be a newspaper serving a land grant college. “Biting the hand that feeds you so well?” I thought
Her response arrived a few minutes later and it was good, a well-written piece, properly backed with the facts. (Click here to read it) It was the kind of writing good journalism schools try to teach and too few students actually learn. To my way of thinking, a fair-minded newspaper editor should have published it. Because the editor turned it down and the playing field needed to be leveled, I turned it into my next DCN editorial.
And Brandi became a social media agvocate.
OK, maybe it wasn’t just that simple. But I’ve seen her byline in a lot of unexpected places lately so I thought I should track her down and ask her about life in the ‘ag’ lane.
Q. Brandi, since your pro-milk, pro-ag defense written to the KSU newspaper, what’s happened in your life?
A. Not much, I got married, moved to Australia for a while, came back to Manhattan to work on my Masters degree.
(Australia, I wondered?) My husband got a Fulbright Scholarship which paid for a year of grad studies and had to work in a country where he spoke the language. Speaking English, that narrowed the choices down to the U.K. or Australia. So he went to work on a swine research project in Melbourne for 10 months.
I worked as a research assistant in the Department of Land and Food Research which is like the University of Melbourne’s College of Agriculture. I worked with sheep and swine, basically what a grad assistant would do here except I got paid a lot better.